The only good thing about working for a boss who doesn’t compensate you fairly is that you can leave. If you’ve made a convincing case for why you should be promoted or given a raise, and been turned down (repeatedly), you are well within your rights to move to another department, accept another offer, or flat-out quit.
But when you work for yourself, you can’t quit.
Which is why, as we reach the end of another calendar year, it’s time to take a good, hard look at what you’re earning and ask yourself if it’s time you made a little more. If you work for yourself, you can do whatever you want (isn’t that the appeal of being self-employed?). And yet it’s astonishing to me how cheap we become when we hire ourselves.
Here’s a story about a colleague of mine I’ll call Jen, a self-employed PR professional in San Diego. I hadn’t seen her in years and she was coming to a trade show in New York, so we met for a drink. When she walked in, I was of course tapping away on my phone and she asked me if I was using an “app.”
Um, yes, of course ... wait a minute. What’s going on? Why is she talking about my phone as if it’s some newfangled thing that hasn’t caught on yet?
And then she pulled out a flip phone from 2007. For a moment, I thought maybe I’d slipped through a wrinkle in time. Because that would have been almost more believable than a successfully self-employed PR profesh opting out of modern-day technology. That’s when I knew this wasn’t going to be casual drinks but a come-to-Steve-Jobs meeting.
When I pressed her on it, she said that her old phone was a bit banged up but “much more affordable” since she paid around $50 a month, which made sense since the thing used Morse code.
Not being one to beat around the bush, I said, “Jen, please tell me why you, a woman who has run her own business for a decade, cannot afford a smartphone.”